updated 08:05 pm EDT, Thu October 21, 2010
Google TV set back by TV agency blocks
Google TV is being blocked by TV studios at least partly out of piracy fears, tips alleged on Thursday [sub. required]. Disney's ABC as well as CBS have all confirmed that they prevent the TV OS from watching their free Flash video sites. The WSJ understood from leaks that at least Disney and NBC had objected because it didn't think Google was doing enough to stop piracy.
The insiders claimed that Google prioritizes searches on Google TV devices like the Sony Internet TV to favor official content over piracy, but Disney was reportedly still unhappy that it wasn't actively blocking pirates altogether. Google is believed to have enough control to manually hide sites from search results, but such a method wouldn't satisfy TV networks afraid of thousands of sites going undetected.
Only some networks and sub-networks, such as CNBC, HBO and Turner, have responded positively to Google's requests for websites optimized for a Google TV. Fox is also believed to be on the fence and may block it later. Hulu is already blocked in free form but may come through Hulu Plus.
The efforts undermine what was supposed to be Google's vision for Internet-capable TV devices, which would rely on web-based video and traditional TV being merged into one. Although a paid YouTube TV and movie service has been rumored as in progress, the company has no way of its own to pay for videos and as such has no easy way of getting around site blocks. Its primary sources of income may only come from search ads as well as rumored plans to run Internet-based ads in addition to TV shows' commercials.
Apple has run into its own problems getting acceptance for 99-cent TV rentals on the new Apple TV, but its focus on paid or locally shared media has helped it see shows from ABC and Fox that either have or might be blocked on a Google TV.